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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


by Maurynne Maxwell

Democracy in the Southwest United States at the End of the 20th Century
(early 1990s)

They want to put a wall along the border.
A wall comes down in Berlin,
goes up in the United States--
they propose this without irony.

A people without memory can do this.

What's the price of freedom in a market economy?
We can't afford idealism
(our ancestors paid in blood).
We are old money now, aristocrats of power;
we count the price.

Blood is always the true price.

Walls don't work, have never worked--
from Babel to China, from the Bastille to Berlin.
Desperation digs tunnels, builds balloons,
breaks through the strongest barriers, rebels.
Walls draw down lightning, cannot survive the storm;
Dreams drift through atoms of steel, stone, or flesh.

Freedom, that virus--
there is no cure.

Democracy in the United States at the Beginning of the 21st Century

Repeat history.
Repeat with the wall.
Repeat with wiretaps.
Repeat with ISPs keeping records for the government.
Repeat with the President saying he thinks a dynasty is a good idea.
Repeat with the melding of Church and State.
Repeat with the rich getting richer.

Repeat history.
Repeat with wars,
especially with wars for freedom.
Especially if they're in another country--
over an ocean.
Repeat revolution.
But not next door.
Repeat with the wall.

Repeat history.
Repeat revolution.
Try out democracy--
someday it could happen.
Quit repeating.

Maurynne Maxwell is a native of Southern Arizona. Arizona was part of Mexico longer than it has been part of the United States. In fact, up until the 1400s, Arizona was just part of the world. If you were optimistic, you could say that Arizona and the United States were part of the world even now. At any rate, she would not really like to live anywhere else except maybe Baja, Canada, or Cornwall. Because even though we don't practice democracy in this country, it seems like we have the next best thing. Mauryanne Maxwell wishes she had the answer to perfection, but simply believes we must keep trying.